Collaborative Healthcare in Clinical Practice: An Effectiveness Study

Dawn Mayer (2009)

The goal of this research was to understand collaborative activities in a naturalistic setting and the influence collaboration has on client outcome. The studyinvestigated whether mental health clinicians, left to their own devices, practiced in a collaborative manner with physical health providers located in the same community, and whether that made a difference in client outcome. Understanding the factors that influence outcome in a naturalistic setting is critical due to the gap between efficacy research and clinical practice. A retrospective review of 64 inactive client charts was conducted to abstract and code demographic, collaboration, and client outcome data in accordance with a data abstraction and coding manual. Results indicated that clinicians in the naturalistic community mental health center collaborated predominately through referral and written communication with non co-located providers. The frequency of collaboration with non co-located and co-located providers, type/level notwithstanding, was not associated with improved outcome. An inverse relationship between baseline functioning and collaboration was indicated. The results suggest that providers, when left to their devices, were more likely to collaborate through lower levels of collaboration with non co-located providers when the baseline functioning of the clients was low. Findings support the importance of continued exploration of the relationship between collaboration and client outcome.